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What a Summer we've had!

What a summer we’ve had! Great for sipping iced tea in the shade but much trickier for the garden lovers amongst us! It certainly has been a Summer of highs and lows - gorgeous sunshine, drought, followed by heavy rains, and of course, loss.

RIP Your Majesty, and Thank You for Your Service

Like us, we're sure that most of you were glued to the television on Monday for The Funeral - a wonderful tribute to Her Majesty. Majesty. Our late Monarch also had a passion for gardening, and was patron of the Royal Horticultural Society. We're hoping that she took immense pleasure from the beauty of her gardens during her final summer.

We loved the significance of the arrangement atop Her Majesty's coffin. All the blooms and foliage were cut from the gardens of Royal Residences. It included Rosemary for remembrance, English Oak which symbolises the strength of love and most touching of all - Myrtle, a symbol for a happy marriage, which came from a plant grown with a sprig from her wedding bouquet in 1947.

Whilst not quite the expanse of the Royal Gardens, this month, we wander around the plot to review the winners, losers and surprise plants of the season as we make plans to open the garden gates for the Hidden Gardens of Grayshott event on 28/29th May 2023. What Survived the Heat? It's been tough this summer to witness the withering but let’s celebrate the positives and what we can learn from gardening in these extreme conditions.

Fortunately, a significant number of our shrubs are mature and many were chosen specifically to tolerate the dry sandy conditions we garden with in Grayshott. Whilst some shrubs appeared close to termination the recent rain has seen most bounce back. With a light prune where required and a feed/mulch they have the best chance to recover before the onset of winter. The hydrangeas, normally considered to require cooler conditions, have surprised. Notably, the oak leaf and the paniculatas which have been as good as any other year.

Beautiful Blooms The shrub roses have flowered profusely with no rain to turn them to mush as happens in so many other years and the euphorbias, wulfenii and myrsinites, have positively thrived, along with the collection of stipa and miscanthus grasses. The meadow has been the best it’s been for 20 years. No rain to bash it all down its been in bloom since April. The mallow, wild carrot and knapweed are still in bloom.

Veggies and Cherries Galore The cut flower patch has been a joy. Amazing that a few packets of seeds can provide armfuls of blooms to fill the house and as they give of their last the dahlias have taken over with long strong stems perfect for the vase. In the veg plot it’s been a struggle for members of the bean family but the butternut squash are enormous and the outdoor tomatoes are fit for the show bench. 4kg of cherries have been gorged along with figs the size of teacups. Yum-yum. The collection of succulents (Aeoniums, Echiveras and Aloes) have been released from the greenhouse and basking in the sun outdoors. We’ve been able to propagate a significant number which will be on sale at next years event! The pots of pelargoniums have also been the best ever.

And what didn't survive... Clearly there have been some losers. A few shallow rooted rhododendrons have succumbed, and others will probably not bloom next May as flower buds are formed in the summer of the previous year. Clematis, always tricky here, have succumbed, despite cosseting affections. Will they regenerate next Spring? Some herbaceous has fried and time will tell if it’s just the top growth or if in fact the roots have desiccated beyond redemption. So, as with any other year, there are winners and losers. Unbelievably, we will have to dust off the lawn mower for the view of the main lawn has changed from buff to green in just over a week. Isn't mother nature wonderful?!

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